The digital era has created new standards for businesses and customers alike. While brands navigate their way towards customer centricity, the consumer has become more empowered and as a result, has higher expectations. In this context, it only makes sense to offer your clientele the service they expect, on the channel they prefer, and whenever it is more convenient for them.
Combine all of this with the realities of the post-pandemic market and it’s easy to see how customer care professionals have their work cut out for them!
Based on the previous, it’s easy to determine the importance of digital care for the success of your business and its overall relationship with your customer base – especially when Covid-19 came and took the world by storm. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the latest customer service trends to keep an eye out for in 2021:
- Scalability and flexibility
- Know thy customer
- Omnichannel support
- Data privacy and transparency
- The AI invasion
- Automation and integrations
- Training programs and reskilling
- Digital customer care as a brand differentiator
Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these trends, shall we?
Scalability and flexibility
In the wake of the pandemic, many businesses had to change their business models to rise up to the challenges of a society in lockdown or under measures and restrictions. This created opportunities and challenges for customer service organizations that needed to quickly adapt to rise up to the occasion. In a world where the only constant changes, customer service needs to be flexible, adaptable, scalable, and cost-effective to efficiently address customer needs and communicate with them in a timely, convenient, and interactive manner.
Know thy customer
Okay, full disclosure. This is not a trend. It’s common sense and will remain valid for as long as your business is in business. You will never be able to provide your customers with the service they need and expect unless you really understand who they are, how and why they use your products, what challenges they are faced with, what is their journey with your brand, and so on. In this context, listening to the customers’ voices and collecting and analyzing feedback is key to improving customer support and managing your relationship with your customer base.
Omnichannel is not going anywhere
A few years back, an omnichannel customer service strategy was viewed as a disruptor. These days, it’s considered a differentiator. More specifically, unified omnichannel services will enable you to create offerings specifically designed for the needs of your customers. Synchronizing real-time customer data across different channels is key to delivering customer support that meets customer expectations.
Data privacy and transparency
Your customers are “digital natives” and are becoming more and more concerned with data privacy issues. As the data privacy debate further develops worldwide and with consumers growing increasingly wary of data breaches, make sure you train your customer support team to understand why privacy matters in the eyes of regulators and consumers alike.
Data privacy will become even more of an issue as more and more people welcome smart speakers and personalized voice assistants into their lives. The security of active listening technologies will be further scrutinized in the years to come and brands should prioritize data privacy when considering the value proposition of their services and products.
The AI invasion
The use of devices that feature AI (such as voice assistants, content streaming, etc.) is on the rise and is reshaping the customer journey alongside the customer experience. These devices are primarily used on behalf of the consumer to complete tasks and it is your responsibility to figure out how your support environment will engage and interact with them.
Automation and integrations
To address the increased demand for ubiquitous customer support, businesses will turn even more to automation and AI integrations to meet expectations. Automation and AI integrations will give your customer care representatives the necessary tools and data to complete tasks more effectively and efficiently.
Training programs and reskilling
Customer care representatives are a great asset for any business. The digital transformation we are currently undergoing has increased the skill gap which is a focal point to differentiate your e-care initiatives. Make sure you enable your employees to face the challenges that come with digitalization by offering training programs that will provide them with the necessary knowledge and attitude to solve issues the customer’s way.
Digital customer service as a brand differentiator
Customer service interactions deeply impact the customers’ overall perception of their experience with your brand. The digital era has put a smartphone in everybody’s hand and your customers no longer compare your business just to its competitors but to the experiences, they access through their mobile devices offered by giants such as Amazon or Google. How does your digital support fare in comparison to them? It is important to understand that your customer service is an extension of your brand and as such needs to be designed in a way that communicates its core values and reaches bars of excellence set by industry disruptors.